Can we just think out loud here? First, we refuse to believe and claim that all good things can only come from Silicon Valley and China, as there are over 7.7 billion people on six continents. If that were the case, God would surely have created us with wings to fly to China and Silicon Valley to find solutions to our problems, but unfortunately. We are not! Second, we are not convinced that all Namibian intellectuals live only in Windhoek. But as I said, we only think out loud.
The renowned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohammed Yunus with his incredible microfinance concept comes from Bangladesh, of all places. Mo Ibrahim, comes from Sudan in Africa. Their stories would be told a little later. But what do these two men have in common?
A workable population group
Namibia has 2,746,745 inhabitants and a large part of this population is unemployed but able to work. Our nominal gross domestic product per capita is US $ 4,958.00 according to the World Bank. Those who scrutinize the economy would tell you that there is no valid reason why Namibia should seek bailouts from the International Monetary Fund or auction our natural resources to the highest bidder. But statistics is just that, statistics.
In 2005, the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture introduced and successfully implemented a microfinance program called the Namibia Youth Credit Scheme in the regions of Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati and Ohangwena. This program aimed to encourage start-ups and job creation. As things stand, the jury is not on this program and, like many other brilliant initiatives, the story would be told some other day. The savings and credit cooperatives and agricultural cooperatives in Kenya are just one of many success stories.
What would have happened if the N $ 762 million had been allocated to youth and the labor force in all 121 constituencies instead of the emergency aid puzzle? That would mean over N $ 6 million per constituency for development versus consumption. A significant number of the currently unemployed could have been trained and given general business management skills and business plan development skills to secure funding for their proposed businesses. Imagine what it would have done if such funds had been used in a sustainable and value-adding manner. We cannot help believing the importance of empowering constituency councils and their village leaders to oversee and evaluate a job creation program of this magnitude and to oversee the collection of loan repayment activities, as their current job descriptions are limited to no- Ending visits to meetings and reading out condolences to memorials for deceased elderly people in their respective constituencies and villages.
If the employable are trained and empowered to start businesses and then receive seed capital for business development, we will not only create jobs and reduce poverty, but also combat urban migration and the spread of twalolokas and otweyas.
It must be said that the unnecessary loss of life and property from barrack fires is preventable. According to Harambee Prosperity Plan 2, there are 113 Twalolokas / Otweyas locations across the country. This number is increasing every day, and the residents of these settlements are full citizens. In essence, introducing a microfinance program that provides people with lifelong skills and income would not only ensure self-sufficiency, but also prevent urbanization from causing citizens to lose so much of their hard-earned belongings in shack fires, which is what to do quite an epidemic of sorts. They would run their small businesses in their villages and proudly contribute to their motherland’s GDP.
We know local farmers who want to produce and sell their crops and livestock, budding poultry farmers, university graduates and craftsmen from vocational training centers who want to produce for the market, but they lack financial support and mentoring. Investing in our human capital is, in our opinion, the only sustainable strategy. We have experimented with fishroting, the auctioning of our natural resources that has been our newest guinea pig. I am sure we can afford to take risks with our able-bodied population. Poor people are bankable and trustworthy, according to Grameen Bank founder Yunus, while in the words of Amazon great Jeff Bezos, knowing it will work is not an experiment.
Sustainability, economic growth
Our main employers are tourism, agriculture, mining and fishing. If young people model and align their business concepts with these four sectors, they will be sustainable. Maybe, just maybe, this intervention will boost our GDP, which has always stagnated at around N $ 177 billion.
Of course, no country in the annals of history has effectively alleviated poverty. If it comforts you, there are twalolokas / otweyas in the United States of America. China, with a per capita income of US $ 10,260.00, also has many areas of poverty, regardless of the rosy picture we constantly see. So poverty is a global problem. The point here is that the urbanization and spread of Otweyas / Twalolokas in Namibia are describable and neither rocket science nor empirical evidence from a State House press conference is required for this realization. A microfinance program is sustainable, together with a revolving loan fund and with some of the best business trainers and business examples to draw on, we will be successful.
However, it could be suggested that, for good governance, the members of the village committee report to their chiefs and that the chiefs report to their constituency councils, the respective chiefs who ensure sustainability to the line minister and finally the president. This may be an expensive endeavor in the first year, but expect exponential revenue growth from a job-friendly payback. Covid-19 is neither the first nor the last pandemic. On our coasts we recently had swine flu, malaria, Ebola, HIV / AIDS and hepatitis C / E, to name a few. Hence we cannot rest on our laurels. Sustainable strategies and actionable plans should be developed to secure humanity, livelihoods and the future. To paraphrase another saying, a drop in the ocean, insignificant as it may be, is still a drop. Professor Yunus has a net worth of $ 10,000,000 thanks to his microfinance initiative. His idea, the Grameen Bank, had total sales of $ 150,000,000 in 2010 and has a total clientele of over seven million people, over 2,500 branches and 20,000 employees in more than 78,000 villages in Bangladesh. The unemployment rate in this country of over 160 million people is a healthy percentage, while in Namibia we are at 43%.
Membership and financial contributions to the Social Security Commission would increase dramatically if we provided funding and business opportunities to those who are employable in our society.
At the same time they will have more purchasing power, which will increase spending in the economy, the creation of more jobs in various economic sectors from Katima Mulilo to Oranjemund, an increase in VAT and the circulation of the Namibian dollar within the country. There is a saying that if everyone cleaned where they are, the whole place would be clean.
While the Blackboard’s only notable accomplishments are addiction syndrome and the increase in profits from Pick n Pay and Shoprite, we must propose viable, doable and sustainable solutions, including well-coordinated, foolproof and incorruptible microfinance programs just might be the panacea to our country’s unemployment .
2021-08-30 Employee reporter